Saturday, 27 November 2010

Who Will Win the Catalan Elections?

Today Catalan politicians have "a day of reflection" and must not do any campaigning. That law seems outdated in the era of social networks, but gives me the opportunity to describe how I have experienced the election campaign.

Even my father in Sweden knows that tomorrow, November 28, there will be elections here, and that is thanks to a number of viral campaign initiatives which have received international attention. First out was the youth organization of PPC, launching an online game where you could see party leader Alicia Sánchez Camacho eliminating illegal immigrants and Catalan "independentistes". It was immediately denounced as xenophobic and rapidly removed. PPC made a statement saying that there had been mistakes in the design and that the foreigners were meant to represent mafia gangs, but the promised corrected version never appeared.

The young socialists did not want to be less active, and since their PSC is considered to need a high voter turnout, they wanted to show how wonderful it is to go out and vote - in fact so nice that the girl in the video reaches an orgasm. Personally, I think that this was a harmless and fun idea, but it resulted in rejections by the mother party. However, from the latter came what I consider the most witty film of this election campaign: a Monty Python-inspired environment where "reactionaries" are trying to convince each other that PSC has not accomplished anything important during their seven years in office with the Tripartit (PSC, ERC and ICV-EUiA, as you will remember.).

That FC Barcelona's former president, Joan Laporta, now leads a political party has also made headlines outside of Spain. I therefore want to mention that Solidaritat Catalana (SI) for independence has not become the mass movement he hoped for. I am still not sure how he will act in a parliament where his party, according to unanimous opinion polls, will only get a handful of seats.

Full sovereignty for Catalonia is something which many hoped would dominate the election campaign but has, in my opinion, remained a minor issue. Firstly, because those who see independence as their main objective are now scattered over several parties (well established ERC and the newcomers SI and Reagrupament being the three biggest ones). Secondly, because the crisis and the unemployment situation that we suffer from, have focused the debate on more pressing matters.

This has given us an election campaign which suited CiU perfectly - a nationalist party attracting plenty of independence minded voters, but insisting that we first and foremost need a strong Catalonia. From the very beginning they have stressed that the main concern is to create a better government than the sitting Tripartit and that what is needed among Catalans is unity - not division between independentistes and those who want to continue to be a part of Spain.

Perhaps this reveals that CiU has acted as a tactical genius in controlling the agenda, but I prefer to think that this is a tribute to the famous Catalan senycommon sense - which makes people differentiate between current priorities and future visions.

With the difficult times we are going through, I believe that the best possible outcome for both Catalonia and Spain is to see a strong government of the Generalitat. De facto, only CiU can aspire to create that, so we will reach the most stable situation if they win tomorrow and then PSC, for its part, assume the role as constructive opposition. Interestingly, I have a feeling that even the Spanish Prime Minister, socialist Rodríguez Zapatero, thinks the same?

In some 24 hours we will know how it went.

Campanya Electoral Artur Mas Rambla Vilanova

Herrera i bici Fira Novembre Vilanova

Esquerra Republicana Fira Novembre Vilanova

Catalan Election Campaign Partit Popular Barcelona

Super-Montilla PSC Fira Novembre Vilanova

Reagrupament Solidaritat Catalana Des de Baix Vilanova

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Sources and Inspiration: Spain outrage over migrant bombing game Spain 'orgasm' video criticised by politicians Zapatero: "La del concierto económico es la peor propuesta de Artur Mas" Mas pide la fuerza de la unidad
Nació «El Periódico» veu CiU cada vegada més aprop de la majoria absoluta

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